WASHINGTON, March 16 – The top U.S. general for forces in the Middle East said on Tuesday that he believed the United States would provide Egypt with F-15 aircraft.
“I think we have good news in that we’re going to provide them with F-15s, which was a long, hard slog,” General Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said during a congressional hearing.
McKenzie did not provide details on timing or how many F-15 aircraft, made by Boeing (BA.N), would be provided.
Last month, McKenzie emphasized “very robust” military assistance to Egypt as he flew into Cairo in the wake of a decision by President Joe Biden administration’s to cut $130 million in military aid to the country over human rights concerns.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former Army chief, has been criticized for crushing dissent since coming to power after leading the 2013 ouster of elected President Mohamed Mursi of the now-banned Islamist party, the Muslim Brotherhood.
U.S. officials have said the American relationship with Egypt is complex. The most-populous Arab country is a vital ally and key voice in the Arab world. U.S. military officials have long stressed Egypt’s role expediting the passage of U.S. warships through the Suez Canal and granting overflight for American military aircraft.
Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Tim Ahmann